Your favorite HGTV hosts offer everything from home-buying advice to renovation tips. After more binge-watching than you’ll ever admit, it’s hard to imagine HGTV stars doing anything but doling out home advice to the masses — but they had to earn a living somehow before they became reality show stalwarts.
Click through to discover what these HGTV stars were doing before they were famous, and compare their “before” stories to other stars’ who made it big.
Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” “Brother Vs. Brother” and “Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House”
Then: Before “Property Brothers” debuted in 2011, Drew Scott was an aspiring actor with $100,000 in debt. You might’ve seen him on an episode of “Smallville” in 2006.
Now: The 2017 “Dancing With the Stars” contestant stays busy with his HGTV shows. He also co-founded the company Scott Brothers Global with twin brother Jonathan.
Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling” and “Brother Vs. Brother”
Then: Before becoming one of the biggest HGTV stars, Jonathan Scott was an aspiring magician who filed for bankruptcy. Like his brother, he also dabbled in acting.
Now: Beyond hosting their HGTV shows and running Scott Brothers Global — which includes Scott Brothers Entertainment and Scott Living — he and Drew have co-authored two New York Times best-selling books.
Chip and Joanna Gaines
Known for: “Fixer Upper”
Then: Before they were famous, two of the most popular HGTV hosts — Chip and Joanna Gaines — were renovating houses through their construction business Magnolia Homes.
Now: Season five of “Fixer Upper” is their last, but they have several businesses, including Magnolia Market, their Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line at Target, vacation rentals and upcoming restaurant, Magnolia Table. They are the parents of four children and are expecting their fifth.
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Known for: “Income Property” and “Flipping the Block”
Then: Before joining the ranks of HGTV hosts, Scott McGillivray was a licensed contractor and real estate investor who renovated properties and rented them out.
Now: The real estate investor is also CEO of McGillivray Group and McGillivray Entertainment, co-founder of real estate investing education company Keyspire and star of the DIY Network’s upcoming series “Buyers Bootcamp.” He’s also busy providing Americans with valuable tips on how to sell or buy a home.
Erin and Ben Napier
Known for: “Home Town”
Then: Pre-fame, Erin and Ben Napier were running general store Lauren Mercantile with four friends, in addition to her stationery company Lucky Luxe and his woodworking company Scotsman Co.
Now: Largely considered the new Chip and Joanna Gaines, the couple is staying busy with “Home Town” and their daughter Helen, who was born in January 2018.
Known for: “Going Yard”
Then: Prior to his 2012 HGTV debut, Chris Lambton was running his family’s landscaping business. He was also the runner-up on “The Bachelorette” in 2010.
Now: Lambton hosted “Yard Crashers” on the DIY Network from 2015 to 2016, and he and his wife hosted HGTV’s “Home United” special in January 2018. He also still owns the landscaping business in Cape Cod, Mass.
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Tarek El Moussa
Known for: “Flip or Flop”
Then: He got his real estate license at age 21, and found success selling multimillion-dollar houses in Orange County, Calif. This turned into flipping his first house in 2005.
Now: “Flip or Flop” has been renewed for an eighth season, and the cast salaries are expected to be sky-high. One of the top HGTV stars, he also runs real estate company Tarek Buys Houses, LLC.
Christina El Moussa
Known for: “Flip or Flop”
Then: Before “Flip or Flop” debuted in 2013, she was a real estate agent who had recently forayed into the house-flipping business with now-estranged husband Tarek El Moussa.
Now: Beyond filming “Flip or Flop,” the interior design expert and her ex own production company Sky High Media and teach others to flip houses through Success Path Education.
Known for: “Love It or List It”
Then: Before HGTV fame, Farr served as president of her eponymous interior design company Hilary Farr Design. She also had a small role in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Now: She’s still running Hilary Farr Design, but she’s also returning to her acting roots. The multitalented Farr is slated to appear in the film “Way Out of Bounds.”
Known for: “Love It or List It”
Then: A realtor since 1987, David Visentin already had more than 20 years of experience when “Love It or List It” debuted in 2008.
Now: Fame hasn’t changed this HGTV personality, as he still works at Country Living Realty Limited in Ontario, Canada, his employer since 1987.
Known for: “Rehab Addict” and “Flipping the Block”
Then: When HGTV found Nicole Curtis, she was already a realtor who rehabbed historical properties. Before that, she worked as a waitress and a housekeeper.
Now: She’s still busy rehabbing homes on “Rehab Addict,” season eight debuted in October 2017. But Curtis found time to write the book “Better Than New,” published in 2016.
Known for: “Holmes on Homes”
Then: Before he rose to HGTV fame, Mike Holmes was a seasoned contractor who had been running construction companies since he was 19.
Now: In addition to taking part in several DIY Network shows, Holmes is an author and has several businesses, including Make It Right Construction, Holmes Approved Homes and Mike Holmes Inspections.
Known for: “My Lottery Dream Home,” “HGTV Design Star,” “Color Splash” and “Flipping the Block”
Then: The original winner of “HGTV Design Star,” David Bromstad started his career at Walt Disney World, where he created theme park installations.
Now: Still an HGTV regular, Bromstad has created a line of bed and bath products, and his art was licensed for barware and accessories with coaster company Thirstystone.
Known for: “Carter Can” and “Red Hot and Green”
Then: Before making it big on HGTV, Carter Oosterhouse was pursuing an acting and modeling career in Los Angeles.
Now: A lifestyle expert and craftsman, Oosterhouse is an author, who regularly appears on television. He also co-founded Bonobo Winery and makes high-end custom furniture.
Known for: “Genevieve’s Renovation,” “HGTV Design Star” and “Dear Genevieve”
Then: Before her days on HGTV, Genevieve Gorder worked for design studios in New York City, Amsterdam and Barcelona, Spain.
Now: The interior designer has her own home decor line and partnered with The Land of Nod in 2017 to create furniture and decor for children.
Known for: “HGTV Design Star” and “Live in Vern’s House”
Then: Renowned interior designer Vern Yip started his career making $24,000 per year at an architectural firm, according to The Washington Post.
Now: The Vern Yip Designs owner is also an author and a Washington Post columnist. He’s collaborated with several brands to create home decor and accessory product lines.
Known for: “Property Virgins” and “Flipping Virgins”
Then: Before she joined HGTV, Egypt Sherrod worked in radio. She purchased her first investment property in her early 20s, then got her real estate license.
Now: The national TV and radio personality, keynote speaker and author currently hosts “Flipping Virgins” and runs the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group.
Known for: “Love It or List It, Too”
Then: One of the most recognizable HGTV stars, Jillian Harris starred on “The Bachelorette” during the show’s fifth season. At the time, she had a successful restaurant design career.
Now: She balanced co-hosting “Love It or List It, Too” with a career as a busy interior designer. She also works with many brands, including her JH for Privilege and JH for Melanie Auld collections.